On Friday, officials in Washington State, Oregon, and California reported coronavirus disease 2019 infections among individuals who had not been traveling overseas or had any known contact of someone who might be infected.
These three cases- a Seattle high school student, an Oregon elementary school employee, and a Santa Clara woman with a compromised immune system, are the first known cases in the US where contraction cannot be easily explained.
Experts warn this is an indication of what could become a rapid and uncontrolled spread of the virus in the US.
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Data
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has infected 65 people in the US and 83,000 people in 50 countries.
So far, over 2,800 people worldwide have died of the disease, and 36,000 have recovered.
The virus is still in its early stages, and as it spreads to countries with poor public health infrastructure, the death toll will continue to rise.
Although the severity of the virus and the rapid rate of infection are definitely cause for concern, the spread of misinformation about the virus on social media has led to widespread unnecessary panic and outright ignorance.
On Tuesday, actress Kate Hudson posted a surgical mask selfie on her Instagram with the caption “Travel. 2020.”
Like Hudson, many Americans have started sporting these medical face masks.
However, wearing a mask actually won’t protect against spread or infection.
According to the World Health Organization, wearing a mask if you are healthy is useless unless you are within six feet of a person who has coronavirus 2019.
Masks on their own are ineffective, and if not disposed of properly can cause more harm than good.
Many people follow celebrities’ actions and celebrities often attempt to encourage or educate their fanbase, however when it comes to medical matters, it’s better to take advice from the WHO and the CDC.
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) FACTS
According to those organizations, here are the facts:
Coronavirus is a group of viruses in animals that sometimes infects humans.
There are seven known coronaviruses that infect people, three of which can be fatal.
MERS and SARS, two potentially life-threatening coronaviruses, originated in bats.
Coronavirus 2019 only has a 2.3 percent fatality rate in China, while SARS and MERS during their outbreaks had a 10 percent and 23 percent fatality rate respectively.
However, Coronavirus 2019 has already killed more people than the other two outbreaks combined, which is what has created mass hysteria worldwide.
Coronavirus 2019 began in Wuhan, China and was linked to a live animal market.
The virus spread from a single city to the entire country in one month’s time through person-to-person contact, and the death toll is most likely a result of poor initial attempts at containment and intervention.
Additionally, since most symptoms of the virus are mild, those infected may never be diagnosed resulting in uninhibited spread of the infection through person-to-person contact.
A person can also have the virus for two weeks without showing any symptoms, and during that incubation period the virus can be easily transmitted.
The majority (81%) of coronavirus cases are mild, and symptoms and severity vary widely among people.
The common symptoms are sore throat, cough, runny nose, fever, and shortness of breath.
Outside of China, recovery is highly likely.
The virus can become more serious if it progresses to pneumonia or bronchitis and the patient is elderly or is immunocompromised.
According to the latest data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 percent of cases became severe and five percent of cases lead to respiratory failure, septic shock, or multiple organ failure.
Less than one percent of generally healthy people who became ill died from the disease.
Those most at-risk are individuals above the age of 80 or those with pre-existing illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, or chronic respiratory disease.
Anyone living in the US is more likely to contract the flu than the 2019 coronavirus.
There have been 41,000 infections and 16,000 deaths in the US from the flu since October, and with only a 0.7 percent fatality rate outside of China, the coronavirus simply doesn’t compare.
Get a flu shot.
Amazon recently banned one million fake coronavirus protection products.
In reality, you don’t need to spray alcohol and chlorine all over your body and bask in an ultraviolet lamp while eating garlic to kill any coronavirus germs (check out the WHO’s myth busters).
Avoid becoming infected the same way you would with any other virus:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid contact with individuals who are coughing and sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cover your own mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
If you are traveling to a country where the virus is present, use precaution and practice good hygiene.